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Risk Factors Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. They are an ancient health problem. Evidence of kidney stones has been found in an Egyptian mummy estimated to be more than 7,000 years old. At this time, studies suggest that kidney stones affect more than 5% of Americans, and the rate has increased since the 1970s. Gender and Age Men. Kidney stones are more common in men than women. The risk of kidney stones increases in men in their 40s and continues to rise until age 70. Caucasian men have a higher risk than other ethnic groups. Women. The risk of kidney stones peaks in a woman's 50s. In younger women, stones are more likely to develop during the late stages of pregnancy. Pregnant women tend to have a higher calcium intake, but their kidneys do not handle the calcium as well as they did before pregnancy. Kidney stones are still rare during pregnancy, however, affecting only 1 in 1,500 pregnancies. Risk Factors in Children. Stones in the urinary tract i...
Causes The key process in the development of kidney stones is supersaturation . The urine carries salts, including calcium oxalate, uric acid, cystine, or xanthine. These salts can become extremely concentrated if there is not enough urine, or if unusually high amounts of crystal-forming salts are present. When salt concentration levels reach the point at which they no longer dissolve, these salts form crystals. Different factors may be involved in either reducing urine amount, or increasing the levels of the salts. Deficiencies in Protective Factors. Normally, urine contains substances that may protect against stone formation, including: Magnesium Citrate Pyrophosphate Enzymes These substances: Allow salt in the urine to be at higher-than-normal concentrations without forming crystals Prevent crystal formation Coat the crystals and prevent them from sticking to the surface of kidney tubes Not having enough of these protective substances can cause stones. Changes in the Acidity of the Urine. Changes i...
A friend of mine who is well past the menopause transition recently let us know that she wasn't feeling good. She complained about a severe pain in her abdomen, eventually contacting her health care provider. Eventually, the pain went away and she now believes that she passed a kidney stone.
After doing a little research, I learned some that postmenopausal women do have issues with kidney stones. Current estimates are the kidney stones affect between 5-7 percent of U.S. postmenopausal women. And a 2010 study out of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that the use of estrogen therapy by postmenopausal women might increase the risk of developing kidney stones by approximately 20 percent.
What Are Kidney Stones?
The Mayo Clinic reports that kidney stones are not linked to one definitive cause. They form when urine contains more crystal –forming substances (uric acid, calcium and oxalate) than the fluid in the urine can dilute. Furthermore, the ur...
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